A busy few days (3)

This is the third and final part under this heading and refers to Friday, 27 March, when I enjoyed the company of Federico Vallés, one of our Guadalhorce domingueros, on a trip to Tarifa and La Janda. A total list of some 50 spp., which gives some idea of the luck we ran.

The first stop was at the Los Lances beach where there wasn't an awful lot, a few Audouin's Gulls, a very smart gull and some Kentish and Ringed Plovers, as well as a very smart Sandwich Tern in full breeding plumage. I had hoped for some Yellow Wagtails but only one dared show its face.
From there it was a dash to Bolonia to see what could be seen in the way of rare swifts, either the White-rumped caffer or the even rarer Little affinis. The view down towards the Strait and Morocco was stunning but birds were distinctly on the scarce side. A Wren churred briefly and we nly heard a few warbled notes from the resident Blue Rock Thrush which steadfastly refused to show itself. There were several Griffon Vultures knocking around and the first of the few Black Kites that we saw during the day but not a swift with white rump in sight until finally a pair of Little Swifts hove into view, made two or three high speed passes and were gone, but at least Federico was happy as it was a new species for him.
He was even happier within 5 minutes of leaving as a male Cirl Bunting on the right nearly got itself run over but did oblige for happy snaps time. Another new one for him!
After that it was time for a quick coffee down at the San José del Valle bar and then on to one of my favourite sites, La Janda.
The former rice paddies of last year - los arrozales - were as dry as bone, much to my surprise, and there was an enormous lack of waders - we saw only a single Wood Sandpiper all day there - and the same could be said for the raptors, which were generally few and far between.

We did see some raptors as we went over the top
towards Benalup but nothing in great numbers, a few Griffons, a handful of Black Kites moved north and ditto of Booted Eagles of both morphs. We only saw one harrier all day, a nice adult female Marsh Harrier, and not a single Montagu's. There were the ubiquitous Kestrels, of course, and and one or two Short-toed Eagles which sat on the top of the electricity pylons and surveyed the universe as usual..

Of the smaller birds, the LBJs, a few Nightingales were singing, Fan-tailed Warblers were busy zitting their way around the sky, the Corn Buntings did their wonderful impersonations of rusty hinges in what might be loosely described as a song by the generous. There were very few Calandra Larks and a few Crested Larks, while Stonechats were terribly busy doing everything as they always do, and the best was probably the single female Spectacled Warbler.

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